Centaline builds blockchain platform to digitize property deals

Blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that underpins cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and platforms like Ethereum, is expected to be a game-changer for various industries in the digital economy.

Centaline Property Agency, one of the largest property agencies in Hong Kong, has launched this year the city’s first real estate secondary market blockchain platform, with an aim to bring about digitization in the industry and provide convenience for property buyers.

The initiative is being carried out in partnership with software and cloud computing giant Microsoft and local tech firm TFI Blockchain Technology (TFI).

In an interview with EJ Insight, Tomy Pang, chief executive of Centaline Data Technology, noted that transactions in second-hand properties involve a long, tedious process that requires various detailed forms. Prospective sellers and buyers have to sign multiple forms and handle stacks of paper brochures.

Transfer of the paper documents is time- and effort-consuming, and there can be disputes over discrepancies in pricing and property information due to handwriting errors, Pang said.

That inspired the team to deploy a new technology solution to digitize the traditional paper-heavy practice.

Blockchain technology helps a lot in achieving several objectives, according to Pang. Its immutability means the documents cannot be tampered with, and the distributed ledger structure allows other parties involved in the process to verify and securely share the document and data, enhancing the efficiency of the process.

With the blockchain solution embedded in the Centaline Property mobile app, all the necessary forms and documents for buying, selling, renting, and listing can be processed and completed securely online via the app, enabling customers to sign the forms digitally.

Pang said Centaline’s blockchain network is a consortium blockchain that runs on Microsoft Azure, which only allows certain authorized parties to act as “nodes”…

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